Welcome Guest Catherine Bruns

I hope you all get to meet Catherine some day because she is delightful just like her books. And there’s a chance to win one at the end of the post!


People often ask me if my characters are based on real people. For the most part, no. One exception is Domenic Muccio in my Cookies & Chance series. Book #9, Icing on the Casket, released last week and features his daughter, protagonist Sally (Sal) Muccio Donovan, who owns a novelty cookie shop in Western New York. Sally’s Samples gives out free, homemade fortune cookies with every purchase. The ominous messages inside often forewarn of a disaster or murder in the making that she will eventually stumble upon.

In Icing on the Casket, Dom asks his daughter for help when he finds his friend, a local mortician, dead in one of his caskets. Dom is loosely based on my own father who passed away 20 years ago. Both men were born in Sicily, loved their families and were blue collar workers. Dom is retired from the railroad while my father started his own auto body repair shop in Albany back in 1939, and I’m proud to say that it’s still going strong to this day.  

Dom, however, is a bit of an odd duck. He keeps a coffin in his house for naps, goes to wakes for fun and writes a daily post on the subject of death. His blog even has followers. Okay, not as many as The Wickeds, but he can dream, right?

Like Dom, my father was old school and proud of it. He also attended several wakes, sometimes one or two a week. As a child, I didn’t understand why he went to so many and thought they were creepy. I remember overhearing my mother once tell him, “You didn’t even know that man.” To which my father replied, “It’s a matter of respect.”

Respect is a big deal in most, if not all Italian families. Growing up, some of my father’s favorite sayings included, “Respect your elders,” “Respect the dead,” and “Respect is key.” Then there’s my all-time favorite, “Show some respect.”

My mother had her own share of preferred clichés such as, “If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you?” or, “One day your face is going to freeze that way.” I used to roll my eyes at those phrases…when she couldn’t see me, of course. But last week, one of my sons told me that he was staying up all night to finish a paper for his college course. My response? “Don’t burn the candle at both ends.”

Yes, he gave me a funny look. I too was amazed when the words tumbled out of my mouth. That was the moment when I realized that I had officially become my parents.

Readers: What were some of your parents’ or grandparents’ favorite sayings? Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of any book in the Cookies & Chance series. U.S. delivery only.

About Icing on the Casket:

Full-time baker and sometime sleuth Sally Muccio finally has everything she’s always wanted—a beautiful baby, loving husband, and a thriving business. Now that she’s a mother, Sal has vowed she’ll stay out of future murder investigations. But when her eccentric father’s friend, mortician Eddie Phibbins, is found dead in one of his own caskets, Sal’s father begs her to help find the killer.

With their famous coffins cookies in hand, Sal and her best friend Josie “undertake” the process of questioning mourners and employees at the funeral home, hoping for a lead to Eddie’s killer. Between a recently fired hearse driver, resentful family members and a wacky, love-struck makeup artist there’s no shortage of suspects. Once again, Sal’s snooping has attracted the attention of a killer, and her good intentions may have only succeeded in digging herself an early grave…

*Recipes Included!* https://amzn.to/39OCNd3

The first book in the Cookies & Chance series, Tastes Like Murder, is on sale for only 99 cents this week! http://amzn.to/2zVeQyq


USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns lives in Upstate New York with her very patient husband, three sons, and several spoiled pets. Catherine has a B.A. in English and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer.  She currently writes four cozy series: the Italian Chef, Cindy York, Cookies & Chance and Aloha Lagoon mysteries. Her book, For Sale by Killer, won the 2019 Daphne du Maurier award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense. Please visit her website at catherinebruns.net.

51 Thoughts

  1. Welcome to the blog, Catherine! My parents were big on the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. My grandfather used to tell me, “If you’re going to start something, you need to finish it.”

    1. I just remembered another. I loved to cross my eyes when I was in first grade. “They’re going to stick that way!” was the oft-ignored caution.

    2. Thank you, Edith! It’s a pleasure to be here. My parents were also big on the Golden Rule. I think it still rings true, especially now, given all we’re currently dealing with.

  2. My Grandmother’s favorite expression was “Think before you leap.”

    1. Hi Doward. Yes, that is a good one. I’ve said it to myself many times, because I can be a bit impetuous, lol.

  3. My grandmother used to tell me that I could be whatever I wanted to be and encouraged me to have big dreams. I miss that woman something fierce.

  4. My mother was strict & now that I am a mom I realize how it must have been for her. I’m so grateful she was strict. I miss her so much

    1. Hi Sharon. I miss my mother too! I find it especially hard around Mother’s Day. Thanks so much for commenting.

    1. Sherry, thanks so much for inviting me here today! Now, that is one expression I am not familiar with. And I thought I knew them all!

    2. For that I would get, “I’m going to put a rocking chair on your porch”.

  5. Catherine, congratulations on the new book!

    I can’t remember what my grandparents might have been using as their sayings.

    As for my parents, they were fond of “If you get arrested, don’t call for bail money.” (My dad was a cop and he would definitely make you sit in jail if we’d done anything that warranted being arrested in the first place.)

    My mom didn’t so much have specific phrases so much as devastating one liners that stopped you on a dime. The best one ever was when she had to deal with the overnight dispatch cop calling the house in the middle of the night and being rude to her (the phone was on her side of the bed). He’d be dismissive of her or not even say hello. Or he’d just skip “pleasantries” altogether when my mom picked up the phone and say, “Yeah, let me talk to George”. My mom got fed up with it and one night when my parents were awoken from a dead sleep, the guy was rude on the phone when he asked for my dad. So my mother said, “He’s busy right now but he’ll call you back when we’re through” and hung up the phone. The guy was never rude on the phone to my mom again.

    My dad liked to uses phrases that many likely have heard like “Pepperidge Farm Remembers!” or “You can’t get there from here”. He also answered with a slightly elongated rendition of the word “Yes” whenever anyone said “Oh My God!”

    There was also “I’ll hit you so hard with a left, that you’ll beg me to hit you with a right just to get some relief.” I know it sounds threatening but it wasn’t done that way, it was more of a response to someone being a wiseass to him.

    And there was the fake name I was called when I was little. It was Jay (real middle name) Pumpkin Duster Mordecai Alowishus Terwilliger Roberts. I don’t know the origin of why he did that but as a little kid it did crack me up.

    I’m sure there were others but I don’t recall them offhand.

    1. Oh, I just remembered one. It’s kind of dark but he only said it in regards to having to deal with the irredeemable type of criminal he occasionally saw. The kind you know is never going to be anything more than a criminal. He’d say, “There’s a bullet with his name on it out there somewhere.”

      1. Good morning, Jay! I have heard the bail money comment before, or at least some variation of it. If my father had been a policeman, that definitely would have scared me, lol!

  6. Some of my folks says were “No one may see you, but God and you will know.” , “Being a liar is worse than a thief because you can catch a thief, but a liar you have to live with.”, and “What you do will come back to you – it may be a hug, a smile, a slap on the face or a bite in the butt.” which was very similar to “What goes around comes around”.

    Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “Icing on the Casket”. Thank you for the chance to win a copy!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Kay, my mother was a firm believer in the “What goes around, comes around” phrase. I guess I am too since karma is a common theme used in my books!

  7. Good morning!
    The one saying that I remember my mom always saying is . A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck. That was my mom always.😍

    1. Sherry, I haven’t heard that one before, but it’s lovely. Thanks so much for commenting.

  8. Thanks for visitign the Wickeds today, Catherine! I’ve never heard anyone else say it but my grandmother used to say “Whistling girls and cackling hens all come to very bad ends.” She didn’t much care for whistling!

    1. Yes, I have heard that one before, Jessie! My grandmother didn’t care for whistling, either. She thought it was very unladylike.

  9. “If your friend went an jumped off a bridge, would you do it?” I have a Mother’s Day card from my kids based on that one.

    1. Hi Liz! Yes, my mother said that all the time. Once, to be a smart aleck, I answered back, “Probably.” It didn’t go over well with her, lol!

    1. Hi Carol. My mother was a big fan of the “Pretty is as pretty does” phrase too. I always wanted to use it myself but since I have all boys they might not appreciate it. 🙂

  10. Welcome to the Wickeds, Catherine. On cloudy days my mother’s mother used to say we’d go to the beach if there was “enough blue in the sky to make a Dutchman’s pants.”

    1. Hi Barbara, thank you! Now that is one I have never heard before, but I love it.

  11. Your email really took me back. I heard many of the same phrases from my Mom as well. The one I hated the most was from my Grandma. If you said “Well..” She’d say, ” How many does it take to dig one?” No, I never really understood it either…

  12. My mother always said “Because I’m your mother and I said so”.

    1. I still use it with my kids, Christi. That phrase will never go out of style!

  13. These remind me of one very annoying one from my mom. If teenage me said, “So what?” she’d reply, “Sew buttons.” Grrr. ;^)

  14. Home, James, and don’t spare the horses.

    Not sure where that came from, but it was passed down from my grandparents to my parents.

    1. My mother said that as well, Mark. But she always left the horses part out and laughed every time. I never could figure out why. She must have thought she was pretty hilarious!

  15. Funerals here are a social occasion. Even if you didn’t know the person (though unlikely, since it is a small town) most of the elderly people will go to every funeral just for something to do, a free meal, people to talk to.

    1. That’s very true, Alicia. Most cozy mysteries take place in small towns and at least in my books, the funerals are all very social events.

  16. My father would help me with anything, but he knew he was a “old” father and worried about not always being there for me. So, he would always ask me what I would do if he wasn’t there. I’m now 69 and hear that all the time in my head. I figure out how to do things on my own. Trying to get up the stairs with a bum knee and a bum hip and a load of groceries can be a challenge. But I’ve found a way that works. Thanks, daddy. I still miss you after 46 years but you are always with me.

    Your book sounds like a lot of fun. i would love to win it!

    1. Thanks so much, Ginny. I can definitely relate. My father was 54 years old when I was born!

  17. My mom had one for if I went on too long with a complaint or explanation; “no need to sing it for a song”. My husband has some colorful regional ones, and a favorite of mine is “meaner than a striped (two syllables) snake”.

    1. It’s funny how many different sayings there are, isn’t it? Thanks so much for commenting, Gloria!

  18. “Don’t make the same mistake twice” was the one I always heard growing up.

    (Also, I saw a pic of those amazing casket cookies that you made in the Save Our Cozies group! Impressive!)

    1. Hi Jennifer. The cookies are amazing, aren’t they? But the credit belongs to the talented Kim Davis, who runs the blog, Cinnamon Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder. She created them for my book and when I saw the pictures, I asked my cover artist if they could be incorporated into the cover.

      1. Kim is amazing. When I first started reading the blog, I was convinced she had been a professional food stylist. I love the photos she has done of my recipes.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Kara. My mother loved to say that phrase, too.

  19. Sadly, mostly I remember getting conflicting orders from my parents and both telling me I was being disrespectful for not following that individual’s order immediately (when the orders were given at the same time from opposite ends of the house)!

  20. If someone jumped off a bridge would you? No such word as can’t was my dad’s. Thank you for the chance

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